Washington County Passes Resolution Reaffirming Position Against Public Health Mandates, Lockdowns – St George News
ST. GEORGE – The Washington County Commission on Tuesday reaffirmed its opposition to government-imposed public health mandates and economic lockdowns by passing a resolution that puts the collective attitude of commissioners on record.
“We felt like it was something we needed to put in writing,” Commissioner Victor Iverson said, adding that county residents had contacted the commission to express concern over the recent resurgence of the COVID-19 virus. .
The resolution was titled “Trusting Individual Health Decisions and Establishing a Policy Against Lockdowns and Mask Warrants” and listed various reasons why the commission opposed any attempt by the government to force the mandates of the government. public health and related policies.
Here are the highlights of the resolution read by Commission Chairman Gild Almquist before it was unanimously approved.
- “In Washington County, we believe people should educate themselves, see their personal physicians, and make their own health care choices. “
- “Blockages have been shown to have negative impacts on the economies and mental health of individuals. Additional lockdowns and mask warrants for Washington County are not warranted. “
- “Washington County will not support or impose economic lockdowns or mask mandates. “
Encouraging an individual’s right to determine their own health choices through education rather than forced compliance was a common theme of the resulting discussion between county officials, doctors and law enforcement officials. ‘order.
“It’s always been about personal responsibility,” said Dr. David Blodgett, director of the Southwest Utah Public Health Department. “We have all had a responsibility to understand what this virus means, what it can mean to others and what it can mean to those exposed to it. “
Providing this education and understanding of the virus to the public has been the goal of the health department from the start so they can know how to best protect themselves and others while living the best quality of life possible, said Blodgett.
However, government interference can become an obstacle to this endeavor, he said.
“Often and almost always, it is too much government interference in this process that does not advance this (goal), but makes it much more difficult,” he said.
It could be argued that the more the government pushed the mask issue, the more energy people spent on resisting it rather than learning why wearing a mask might not be a bad idea, said doctor.
With the increase in the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new recommendations and guidelines on masks, which included wearing masks in public areas, whether or not you had been vaccinated. Although those who have received a vaccine are not likely to end up hospitalized because of the virus, that does not prevent them from carrying the virus, according to the CDC, so there is a chance that they could still infect others. others.
As previously reported, the Utah Department of Health has adjusted its own recommendations to match those of the CDC. However, the local health department chose not to follow suit.
The state health department will also not be able to implement public health mandates due to a law passed by the state legislature in May.
“Mandates stand in the way of good public health policy, which is educating people on how to best take care of their own health,” said Blodgett.
While he emphasized the individual’s right to choose, Blodgett nonetheless encouraged people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, adding that even with the current spread of the delta variant, the vaccines have been shown to be effective in helping to keep people out of the hospital. He also reiterated the need for people to educate themselves on the issue so that they can make the best choices for themselves.
“If we know that people don’t end up in the hospital, that they don’t die when they’ve been vaccinated, I think that’s important information to come out,” he said. “Trying to force this problem, I don’t think it’s appropriate for the government, so I’m grateful for the sentiment here.”
Blodgett added that masks also have their place in helping to stop the spread of the virus while still giving the individual the choice of when it feels appropriate to wear one.
One county official who chose to wear a mask was Washington County Sheriff Cory Pulsipher, who said he had his own reasons for doing so.
“I fully support your message,” he said. “I wear a mask because I have personal reasons – health reasons that make me try to be careful.”
Despite his best efforts – which included wearing a mask – to avoid contracting COVID-19, Pulsipher said he contracted it earlier this year while also undergoing chemotherapy for an undisclosed illness.
“I got through it, but I also think it’s my personal responsibility,” he said.
Deputy Sheriff James Stanley then addressed the commission and said he believed residents of the county deserved the right to choose for themselves rather than being constrained by any sort of government mandate. He also explained the view of the sheriff’s office on the application of such warrants.
“From a law enforcement perspective, I want to make sure everyone is aware that the Washington County Sheriff’s Office has no interest in supporting a mandatory mask warrant in this county,” did he declare. “Personal choice is much better than forced compliance. “
Washington County Attorney Eric Clarke, who drafted the resolution for the commission, said the county fully supports personal freedom and freedom of choice. He also said it was interesting to see how some people in positions of authority are tempted to abuse their power and start telling others what is best for them in times of crisis and uncertainty.
However, the public can trust the Southwestern Utah Department of Public Health, Clarke said, and encouraged people to visit the Ministry of Health website to learn more about COVID-19 if they haven’t already.
“This is not a change in our policy or our philosophy,” Iverson, who has opposed anything below mandates since the start of the pandemic, told St. George News after the meeting. the Commission.
“We have always trusted the public and encouraged them to know the facts,” he said.
St. George News reported that Chris Reed contributed to this story.
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